Samruddhi, the rural entrepreneurship programme for Scheduled Castes (ST) and Scheduled Tribes (SC) was launched on Tuesday by Priyank Kharge, Minister for Social Welfare, Government of Karnataka.
Through this rural employment and skill development programme, the government will partner with private organisations to provide training free of cost.
“We are collaborating with companies who have achieved financial status and market credibility. Once the training is complete, the government will provide the certification,” he said.
Some of the corporate partners who have already signed a MoU are Bata, BigBasket, Swiggy, Chai Point, Ola, Uber, Paragon, Classicpolo, Nilgiris, among others. He added that around 62-65 companies have agreed in principle.
The Minister added, “The industry partners would invest up to 10 percent or more in retail management, taxation policies and GST, inventory management, soft skills, logistics, etc.”
The department has also set up a seed grant of up to Rs 10 lakh to help the beneficiaries set up their own franchises or retail outlets. It hopes to create 10,000 SC/ST rural entrepreneurs over the next three years.
He also informed that empanelment of retailers and franchise partners will start from October 31. Interested candidates can apply for the Samruddhi scheme between November 7 and November 30 through the forms available on the Kalyan Kendra website.
“There is a predominant section of the youth who are self-employed or casual labourers. While there has been an increase in the number of SC/ST owned enterprises, there still exists a need to increase livelihood opportunities in order to enable the socio-economic empowerment of these communities in the state,” the minister said.
The applicants will be scanned on the basis of their qualifications. “The minimum age limit is 21 and one must have an SSLC (10th standard) certificate. They will be given a period of two months to show that they have the land or space for it, or have access to the same. They are then eligible to receive the grant to start their own retail outlet. This is a move away from traditional business loans as we saw a potential for misuse in the loans. These seed grants are secure and will directly reach the intended beneficiaries,” he added.
With this initiative, the government aims to create jobs in rural and semi-urban areas such as Mysuru, Chamaraja Nagar, Kodugu, BR Hills, and others. This, in turn, is expected to ensure the sustainable and all-round development of young citizens in these areas.
The government will also invest in training through ITIs, vocational training, and other institutions. The minister said, “This will provide them with employment opportunities across sectors and help them apply for the grant. The government is investing Rs 800 crore, which is eight percent of the department’s budget, through this scheme.”
Dr G Parameshwara, Deputy Chief Minister, Government of Karnataka shared his message through a press release (he was not present at the event) that while SC/ST youth will be provided training and employment opportunities, retail organisations and corporations will get access to new markets and a pool of trained, highly skilled employees. This will help build a stronger economy in rural areas and ensure more equitable and sustainable development.
The Samruddhi scheme is on the lines of the Unnati and Airavata initiatives. These target socially marginalised communities and provide them with skill development and alternate means of employment. The Unnati scheme has technology skill training at its core, targeting social innovation. With the Samruddhi scheme, the government hopes to train youth across sectors and convert them into entrepreneurs.